Audi's new Artemis skunkworks team is working to develop a highly advanced, highly efficient electric car due in 2024.
Autocar reported Monday that the mystery model will be a flagship sedan that may just adopt the A9 E-Tron name.
The Artemis team was established earlier this year as a means to accelerate the development of cars and technology by using a less bureaucratic style of management, with the focus being on EVs and automated driving technology. The move is aimed at countering lean and fast-moving EV startups.
The team's new sedan would essentially be an expansion of the Audi Aicon, a concept for a spacious, self-driving car that was unveiled in 2017 and previously announced for public road trials starting in 2021. It isn't clear if those trials will still go ahead.
Audi Aicon concept
According to Autocar's sources, the sedan is likely to match the A7 in size but offer the spaciousness of the A8 due to its dedicated EV platform which will likely be the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) modular platform Audi is developing with fellow Volkswagen Group brand Porsche. Key technologies reportedly pegged for the car include self-driving features, 5G connectivity, V2X communications, and augmented reality.
Should Autocar's sources prove correct and Audi launches a flagship electric sedan, the new model will go up against similar offerings coming from BMW (electric 7-Series), Jaguar (next XJ) and Mercedes-Benz (EQS). The sources also said the Artemis team is working on a spiritual successor to the Audi A2 based on 2019's AI:ME concept car.
Audi has toyed with idea of an A9 flagship sedan for over a decade. The automaker came close to realizing those ideas when fellow VW Group brand Lamborghini looked at launching a sedan of its own, even rolling out the Estoque concept in 2008. Sadly, the ensuing global financial crisis put an end to the plans for both brands.
Note, Audi later this year will reveal the E-Tron GT sedan based on the Porsche Taycan's J1 platform. However, this model will be an Audi Sport offering dialed more for performance, as opposed to qualities such as interior space, connectivity and range.